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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Georgia Department of Human Resources

2009 Winner

Industry: Government - State
Location: Atlanta, Ga.

Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies

The Georgia Department of Human Resources uses the Senior Community Service Employment Program to help train and place workers age 55+. The department also focuses on leadership training for its employees. More than one-third (35 percent) of the department's employees are age 50+.

Recruiting: The Georgia Department of Human Resources uses placement agencies for older job seekers and calls on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to recruit and attract mature workers.

Workplace Culture and Continued Opportunities:
Employees have a number of development opportunities, including tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, online training, and certification classes. In 2008, all employees took part in at least one training opportunity, with the average employee receiving 52 hours of instruction.

The department recognizes employees' long-service milestones with announcements, parties, and awards. The department also incorporates the results of employee opinion surveys in its management decisions and has made changes, including greater work flexibility, more transparency in employer expectations, increased training, and salary adjustments. To help employees reach their professional goals, the department enables its staff to participate in team projects, temporary assignments in other departments, a formal mentoring program, and extensive training.

Full-time employees are eligible for the following individual and family benefits: medical, prescription-drug, vision, dental, long-term-care, and short- and long-term disability insurance. Retirees under and above age 65 can receive individual and spousal medical and prescription-drug coverage. In addition, the department offers its employees several pre-tax medical accounts, including health reimbursement accounts (HRA), health savings accounts (HSA), and flexible spending accounts (FSA).  

Employees can choose among three different retirement plans, including a 457 plan, an employer-matched 401(k) plan, and a cash-balance/hybrid plan. In order to encourage employees to contribute to their retirement plans, the department automatically enrolls all its staff members in its 401(k) retirement plan. Financial counselors employed by the financial-services firm that runs the 401(k) plan, and internal seminars, keep employees updated on financial-planning information.

To help employees with caregiving responsibilities, the department offers paid time off, unpaid time off, and long-term leaves of absence.

Full-and part-time employees have access to the following wellness benefits: health screenings, health-risk appraisals, smoking-cessation programs, physical-activity and weight-loss programs, and stress-management training.

Benefits/Alternative-Work Arrangements
: Full-time employees can take advantage of a number of alternative-work arrangements, including flextime, telecommuting, and compressed-work schedules. Full-time employees are able to move to part-time work on either a temporary or permanent basis.

Opportunities for Retirees: The Georgia Department of Human Resources has 130 retirees, with whom it keeps in touch by inviting them to events and by formally acknowledging them on the occasion of their retirement.

Age of Workforce: Thirty-five percent of the department's employees are age 50+, with an average tenure of 13.6 years.

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